Summer time is usually when church attendance drops. It is because many families take a summer vacation and young adults go on their getaways. It is a great season for church members. And I’m happy to know that through this season, our members relax, bond with family members and reconnect with friends. Personally, I look forward to summer as well.
However, this also can be a challenging season for pastors because our desire is always to have all church members present on Sunday to hear the message we prepared for them, believing that it came from God. Also, when some key people are missing, having a well-prepared service also becomes challenging. Since this attendance drop happens every year, me as a pastor needs to properly manage this tension. Because honestly, empty seats can be discouraging.
As I watch many of our church members come in and out due to family trips or getaways, I’ve made up my mind to take advantage of the situation. So I thought about what is good about not having everyone in the service.
First, it helps me to appreciate people. We can all say that we appreciate people close to us the least. We tend to take things for granted. We have many faithful members who make our Sunday service happen. But because they are so faithful and consistent, it is easy to take them for granted. But when they are away, it is a chance for me to appreciate their faithful service and importance in the body of Christ. It helps me to recalibrate what I truly value.
Secondly, it helps me to be more faithful. It is human nature to put more effort into anything if we know many people will be there to watch us do it. My temptation is to be less diligent in my message preparation when I know there won’t be as many people on Sunday. But 2 Timothy 4:2 says “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” Regardless of the season I’m in, I’m reminded that I’m called to faithfully preach God’s word week in and week out.
Lastly, it helps me to practice focusing on God. This season is an opportunity to put my trust back to God. Instead of meditating on how well or bad the ministry is going, I’m invited to focus on God who saved me, accepted me and called me to lead his church. I become thankful for what God already has given me and learn to be content in every season. Summer time is indeed a great season.